At a U.S.-funded workshop on May 6, representatives from government agencies and non-governmental organizations in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam convened to forge a strategy for preserving the forests of the Lower Mekong. These forests are home to more than 25 million people in Vietnam alone, and are threatened by deforestation and degradation.
Participants at the workshop, which was funded in part by the USAID Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program, discussed current efforts to develop national programs to reduce emissions from deforestation. At the Copenhagen negotiations in December 2009, the United States Government committed $1 billion to support forest conservation efforts.
“It is clear that reducing deforestation is a key strategy to help address and slow the effects of climate change,” said U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Virginia Palmer, at the workshop opening. “Climate change already is having an impact on many aspects of our economies and societies. Tackling this important global issue requires all of us to plan and act together with all the resources at our disposal.”